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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

THURSDAY - July 8, 2010

TWO DRUG DEALERS RECEIVE FEDERAL PRISON SENTENCE

WILMINGTON - United States Attorney George E.B. Holding announced that in federal court today Senior United States District Judge James C. Fox sentenced two defendants on drug charges. DONALD JUNIOR COPPEDGE, 33, of Snow Hill, North Carolina, was sentenced to 240 months’ imprisonment followed by six years’ supervised release. The Court deemed COPPEDGE a career offender and based on previous convictions his sentence was enhanced. Co-defendant MICHAEL MAURICE WOOTEN, 28, of Macclesfield, North Carolina, received 48 months’ imprisonment followed by five years’ supervised release. WOOTEN’s sentence also included a fine imposed by the Court in the amount of $2,500.00.

On November 24, 2009, a one-count Criminal Information was filed charging WOOTEN with conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute more than 50 grams of cocaine base (crack) and more than 500 grams of cocaine. On February 1, 2010, WOOTEN pled guilty to the charge.

On July 9, 2009, a Federal Grand Jury returned a Superseding Criminal Indictment charging COPPEDGE. On February 18, 2010, a jury found COPPEDGE guilty of distribution of a quantity of cocaine base (crack), in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 841(a)(1) and possession with the intent to distribute a quantity of cocaine base (crack), in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 841(a)(1).

Evidence during the COPPEDGE trial showed that he, along with his brother, Donnell Coppedge, had been selling crack daily since the late 1990’s in the Snow Hill area from at least five different locations, including their mother’s trailer, while utilizing at least three runners to help them sell and distribute the crack. A witness testified that he sold DONALD JUNIOR COPPEDGE two ounces of crack every two weeks from 2003 to 2005, which totals approximately three kilograms, and that, from 2004 to 2006, he and Donnell Coppedge would supply each other with cocaine when their regular suppliers were out. On June, 3, 2009, the day of DONALD JUNIOR COPPEDGE’s arrest on state charges, law enforcement found 28 grams of cocaine that he later admitted was his. On July 21, 2009, after DONALD JUNIOR COPPEDGE’s arrest on his federal charges, he admitted to buying two ounces of cocaine a month from his supplier for a year starting the end of 2007 and to buying 72 grams each of crack cocaine and powder cocaine for a year-period starting the end of 2006.

It was also revealed during the trial that during the course of the investigation numerous controlled buys were executed in which DONALD COPPEDGE, and his second brother, Aaron Coppedge, sold crack. Two of the controlled buys occurred across the street from an elementary school in Snow Hill.

Statements presented in Court, revealed that on April 25, 2008, while deputies were conducting a random driver’s license checkpoint, they witnessed a car stop prior to entering the checkpoint and the passenger of the car through a white object out of the window. The car then proceeded to the checkpoint. Upon questioning by deputies, it was learned that Donnell Coppedge was the driver of the vehicle and WOOTEN, the passenger, who had thrown the object. Upon searching Donnell Coppedge, deputies found $560.00. Deputies then went to the area where the object had been thrown and found 73.5 grams of crack cocaine. WOOTEN was then searched and deputies found $886.00 on WOOTEN. A search of the vehicle recovered 26.12 grams of marijuana from under the passenger seat.

Investigation of this case was conducted by the Greene County Sheriff’s Office and the Greenville/Pitt County Drug Task Force that includesthe Greenville Police Department, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, the Pitt County Sheriff’s Office, the Winterville Police Department and the Farmville Police Department. Other agencies included in the investigation include the North Carolina Highway Patrol, the Lenoir County Sheriff’s Office, and the North Carolina Department of Corrections. Special Assistant United States Attorney Glenn Perry was the assigned Prosecutor.Mr. Perry is a prosecutor with the Pitt County District Attorney’s Office.District Attorney Clark Everett has assigned him to the United States Attorney’s Office to prosecute federal Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force criminal matters.This has been made possible by a grant funded by the Governor’s Crime Commission.

News releases are available on the U. S. Attorney’s web page at www.usdoj.gov/usao/nce within 48 hours of release.

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